Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Nicholas spends time every day building things. He builds with Legos and he builds with a set of Tinker Toys Uncle Steve gave him when he was 2 or 3 years old. He loves to build. He makes all types of things. Yesterday he was using his black Legos to build a haunted house and a bat. Sometimes he makes animals. Sometimes he gets really creative like the other day when he made the Food Maker 3000 out of Tinker Toys. If you know Star Trek pretty well, then I'll say it's just like a replicator. You tell it what you want to eat, how warm or cold, and voila! Instant meal. But what Nicholas enjoys building most of all are space ships. He has said that he when he grows up he wants to work for NASA building space ships.

Nicholas also is very interested in astronomy and he wants to go to the moon. He often says that he wants to be an astronaut.

He has also recently started talking about wanting to be a rescue helicopter pilot. He loves his Rescue Hero toys. We recently found a used rescue helicopter toy at a consignment sale. It was really cool looking with double rotors and it even had lights and sound. One of the rotors didn't spin but Nicholas said that it was the coolest toy he has EVER seen.

So today I asked Nicholas what he would want to be when he grows up...a space ship builder, an astronaut, or a rescue helicopter pilot. He thought for a moment and said, "I want to be a rescue helicopter pilot but I might take a little vacation and go to the moon. You know, just a short little trip for a weekend."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

David Chicken and the Spray Park

I've heard about a children's performed called David Chicken for several years now. I've always wanted to take Nicholas but something always came up and we never got to see him. Today he had a free performance at North Park mall in Dallas. Stuart was in Fort Worth all day photographing a horse show so I loaded up Nicholas and Rachel and we headed to Dallas.



It was a cute show but I'm sure I would have been much more impressed if it had been one of his real shows in an auditorium with better audio equipment and acoustics because it was difficult to understand what he said at times with all of the background noise of the mall around us. Rachel seemed to laugh at times but she probably laughed more at the kid dancing next to her than at David Chicken. And Nicholas is kind of at an awkward age. He still gets into children's shows at times yet he is also very aware of "baby things" and he can't show that he's enjoying something that might be for little kids.

HOWEVER, I did catch him doing the chicken dance at one point!



But then I guess he felt he had to redeem his "cool big kidness" but scaling this piece of architectural art near the show. The boy does love to climb!





So it was a bit of a drive for a show that was really wasn't age appropriate for either of my children - too young for Nicholas and too old for Rachel. I was bummed. And what better way to deal with that bummed feeling? A trip to The Sweet Factory. This is one of those very eye-appealing, wallet draining candy stores where everything is bulk and you pay what felt like $10/pound for a bunch of sugar. We didn't get a lot of candy but the price is all based on weight so I was a bit shocked at the register. Wow, we could have all gotten lunch for that price!



Nicholas had lots of fun with the scoopers and we did find some unusual treats. Check out this GIANT gummy snake!



We don't live far from Dallas or Fort Worth but it's far enough that I try not to go there for just one thing. I like to make a full outing of it and find at least two things to do on the trip. So I thought I was so smart to have planned ahead and mapped out a nearby spray park that we could visit, Lake Highlands Spray Park at the Lake Highlands North Recreation Center on White Rock Trail. Nicholas loves these parks where water shoots out of the ground and buckets dump water down on your head. I had his swimsuit and towel all packed for him and was going to surprise him when I got there. But second bummer of the day - all the sprays were turned off - BONE DRY. Wow, I'm 0 for 2! Well, at least there was a regular playground that Nicholas was quite happy to play on and meet some new friends.



Rachel and I enjoyed sitting in the shade under a tree while she ate a snack. It was really kind of nice because we were right next to a school where a marching band was practicing. I had a great time listening to the music and Rachel loved me bouncing her on my lap to the rhythm.

Nicholas was excited to see a man walk through with an ice cream cart. He got a giant popsicle and happily shared it with Rachel. Rachel didn't seem to care for it too much. I think really cold things are still too novel for her.



But Nicholas made a full drippy mess of himself as he finished off the popsicle.





I'm not familiar with this area at all but the street we were on was White Rock Trail so I assumed we must be near White Rock Lake. You can't always assume things like that though. We drove around a bit but never found the lake. We were all a bit pooped by then and Rachel was getting fussy so we headed home. The day wasn't as exciting as I had planned. But we did have a good time and we did some new things. And it kept Rachel occupied enough that she didn't get terribly fussy about her mouth pain.

Update on Rachel

As you know, Rachel fell and hit her mouth on the coffee table on Monday. Her pediatrician checked her out and said that she will be fine. However, she has been getting fussier as the week has gone on. Many nights she has woken up several times crying even though she has been medicated the whole time on either Tylenol or Motrin. Thursday night was the worst. She woke up every hour crying and there really wasn't much I could do for her. I worried that the frenulum tear had gotten infected or there was underlying damage to one of her teeth that had been missed or who knows what???

Throughout the week, Stuart and I have had to hold Rachel down to try to check on her mouth to see how it is healing. Of course, Rachel cries and squirms and makes a really big fuss about this. It is so touching to see how upset Nicholas gets when we do this. One time he even shouted out with a bit of panic in his voice, "Stop doing that guys! You're hurting her!" Obviously we weren't hurting her, just trying to look in her mouth. But the little guy was going to protect his little baby sister.

Being the worrier that I am, I took her back to the pediatrician's office yesterday. Her usual doctor wasn't available but we saw another one who did a very thorough exam on her. He again said that she will be fine. No infection, no damage that he could determine. He stated a point that Stuart and I had already discussed is that Rachel is dealing with teething pain from this new upper tooth and now that area has an injury. It must be really sensitive and painful for her. So we are just doing our best to give her lots of loving comfort and keeping her mind off her pain as much as possible.

Back To School Splash Party

There was a Back to School Splash Party at Nicholas' school tonight. Popcorn, popsicles, and watermelon. Water ballon throwing, splash pools, two Slip and Slides, watermelon seed spitting contest, decorate Dad with shaving cream contest, face painting, and a whole lot of fun and laughter.



Nicholas was completely in his element. He has only been at the school for a week but he has several friends and was having a great time. Of course, he always has a great time if it involves getting wet!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Most Adorable Baby Bumblebee Ever

Isn't this the most adorable baby bumblebee you've ever seen? Even the picture of the angry baby bumblebee is super cute!










I got this bumblebee costume for Rachel last year just before she was born. She was born in October 20th and I wanted to have a cute costume for her to wear on Halloween.



Stuart took Nicholas trick-or-treating while Rachel and I sat on the front steps handing out candy. Rachel wore her bumblebee costume and slept in my arms the whole time. Everyone loved seeing the baby bumblebee.

I was recently putting together some of Rachel's clothes to give away to a friend of mine and I found the bumblebee costume. Before giving it away, I wanted to get one more set of pictures of her in it. Thanks to Stuart Chance Photography I have pictures of the most adorable baby bumblebee ever!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of Kindergarten

First Day of Kindergarten. I can't believe I'm even writing that! How can my little baby boy be in Kindergarten already?

2006 - First Day of Preschool, Mrs. Ely's Class



2007 - First Day of Preschool, Mrs. Carrico's Class



2008 - First Day of Preschool, Mrs. Carrico's class, year two



2009, First Day of Kindergarten





Nicholas has been very excited about this new adventure. He got to pick out lots of new school supplies and even a cool new Batman backpack. Stuart took the day off of work so he could be with us as we walked Nicholas to school and picked him up this afternoon. Nicholas was charging down the street anxious to get in his new classroom and makes lots of new friends.



Nicholas met the Vice Principal outside the school's front door. I hope he doesn't have many more encounters with him this year!



I like this picture of Nicholas walking into his school for the first time. He was beaming from ear to ear. He felt like such a big boy!



Here is Nicholas with his teacher. He seems to like her. He was very excited to see that she had a full set of books from the Magic Tree House series. They instantly struck up a conversation about Jack and Annie and all of their wonderful adventures.



Here is Nicholas' classroom. I like it, especially since the teacher had Pachebel Canon playing in the room this morning. It is a colorful room but not too busy. There are a lot of hands-on activites all around. There are only 15 students in the class which is much better than I was expecting. As you can see most of the parents were lolly-gagging around with their cameras in hand watching their little ones grow up before their eyes.



I got teary-eyed a few times in the classroom but, believe it or not, I DID NOT cry! I think it really helped that Nicholas was so excited about his new class.

I caught a glimpse into the library as we were leaving. Click on the picture to get a better view through the window. So many books! I would love to go read them all myself! I especially love the little book balcony upstairs. How fun!



Stuart, Rachel, and I were a little sad as we walked home without our little guy with us. It's about a 10 minute walk and I plan to walk Nicholas back and forth to school but he will probably also ride his bike as I walk with him. We just need to get a bike lock for it so he can park his bike at school during the day.



We got home and Stuart and I sat on the couch while Rachel stood on the floor holding on to the edge of the couch. We talked a bit and then Rachel got a little too brave. She held on to the couch with one hand and tried to reach over for the coffee table with the other hand. Silly girl forgot that she can't walk yet and went face first into the edge of the coffee table.

Lots of crying, lots of blood, and a trip to the pediatrician. She tore her frenulum, the little piece of skin that attached her upper lip to her gums. The pediatrician said that it isn't a big deal and that 90% of children tear that before they turn 10 years old. Our little over-achiever accomplished this milestone at only 10 months old! She also has a new tooth coming in on the top and we think it hit the one tooth she already has on the bottom because there was some blood and swelling around the new tooth. The doc felt the tooth and gums and said everything seemed fine. He said the tooth was very protected since most of it was still up in the gums. The only treatment is Tylenol for pain and avoiding some acidic foods that might sting a little. She is still a little fussy but she napped well this afternoon since she spent her morning nap time at the doctor's office.

We were outside the door of the schoool when Nicholas got out this afternoon. I love this set of pictures. First he looked a little overwhelmed - where do I go? where are my parents? what am I supposed to do?



But then he sees us and smiles big and proud while he holds up his name tag to let his teacher know that his parents are here to pick him up.



We took Nicholas to get a sno-cone after school. He got cotton candy flavor.


We also got a baby sno-cone for Rachel with vanilla flavor. I was hoping that the cool ice would feel good on her boo-boo. But she wasn't interested in it at all so she just sat happily on Daddy's lap.



What a day! Exciting for Nicholas. A little sad (and stressful!) for Mom and Dad. Hopefully tomorrow will be better - and a little less eventful.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rachel Pulling Up To Stand

Ok grandparents - I got some video of Rachel pulling up to stand, just for you.

I had to bribe Nicholas to quit trying to ham up the shot so I let him watch a cartoon with Daddy's headphones on. He thinks those are so cool.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rachel is 10 Months Old!

Rachel turned 10 months old yesterday! I already miss that newborn state when she would just let me rock in the glider while she slept in my arms. Now she's all wiggle worm and determined to explore every inch of the house.

Rachel is pulling up to stand but doesn't cruise yet. But still she keeps us on our toes as we are constantly having to watch what she can get into - and double check everywhere for little toys that Nicholas may have left behind.

Today she started crawling on her knees instead of her usual commando crawl. However, I had her in a little dress and it kept tripping her up when she crawled. This wasn't a problem when she was commando crawling and sliding around on her belly. So I guess I'll have to put the dresses away for a while.

These pics were taken just before she started pulling up to stand so her crib mattress is still in the top position. It has since been lowered so that when she stands up, she is still too low to be able to pull herself over the top of the crib. No escaping for you, little one!





Why aren't you picking me up? You know I want out of here!!













She is a happy little girl except when she's dealing with teething pain. Her bottom right front tooth has been working its way up for a while but a few days ago Stuart noticed that her top right front tooth has made an appearance!

Kindergarten Orientation

We had Kindergarten Orientation at Nicholas' new school tonight. He is very excited about going to Kindergarten and meeting lots of new friends.

There are 15 students in his class. They each have their own desk and they are divided into groups of four desks facing each other. Nicholas quickly found his desk on his own. He is sitting with Timothy, Kelli, and Lauryn.





Nicholas was very excited to learn that he would have a locker in his classroom. How fun!



Kindergarten. Wow! When did my little baby grow up?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Camp Tonkawa



Today we went on a wonderful outing with our friends. We went to Camp Tonkawa which is a nature awareness learning center for children located about an hour north of Dallas. The day camp that we attended was focused on learning about Native American Indians. We started our day at the longhouse with a little talk from Mrs. Holtzman.





She showed us several different drums that the Indians would have used. This big one is called Beanie Baby because her son got the drum in a trade for some Beanie Babies and a promise that the drum would be played for many people.



We learned about the Tonkawa Indians. Hundreds of years ago, the Tonkawa Indians used lived in central Texas, in area that is now Austin. They were a friendly tribe but to their detriment for they allowed the Apaches and Commanches and even the white man to push them out of their territory. Few Tonkawa Indians survive today. We learned about the tribes official seal.



We left the longhouse and headed to a field to learn how to build an authentic tipi. The children even got to help in teams of two. Two children would carry a pole and get it in place.



Once the pole was where it needed to be, one child would "walk" the pole upright and lean it against the existing frame while the other child held their end into the ground with the foot pushing down with their weight. Nicholas got to put up two of the tipi poles. Here he is "walking" one end of the pole up...



...and here he is holding down an end of a different pole as his friend "walks" it up...



Next they all worked together to wrap the rope around the top to hold it all in place. Nicholas enjoyed this part and even helped out with "flipping" the rope over some of the pole tips.





And here's the finished tipi. Quite an impressive sight. And what pride the children have knowing that they helped to put it up!



Next we got to sit near the tipi in the shade of a tree and listen to Roger, the storyteller, tell some of his amazing stories about animals.



We were in the wilderness but we did have some luxury accomodations. You do your business in a dressed-up bucket and then top it off with three scoops of cedar shavings. Nicholas was fascinated with playing with the cedar shavings. I'm sure more than three scoops went in there.



Next we learned about archery. We learned how the bows and arrows are made. We learned how to use them. And we learned some safety tips.









The arrows with the black shafts and green quills are Nicholas' shots. He did really well for the two that stuck in the target.





On to the lake! There were kids in canoes, kayaks, and just swimming. It was a lot of fun. Nicholas got some pointers about rowing but he was really just interested in having some fun.





After playing in the canoe, lots of the children were jumping in to go swimming. Nicholas wanted to join his friends but he just stayed on the dock for the longest time. He later told me that he didn't like the idea of being in the water without a boat because he couldn't see the bottom of the lake. He was worried that there might be water snakes in it. But eventually he did jump in and had a great time splashing around with his friends.





We had so much fun but it was very hot and we were very thirsty, even though I thought I had brought an excessive amount of drinking water with us. I am very grateful to our friend who watched Rachel for me while I took her son along with us to the camp. She gets fussy in the heat and there is no way that she would have napped while we were here. She would have been a cranky mess and we definitely would have had to leave early.